2018 – Lorentz Center: Physics and Psychology of Human Crowd Dynamics

In November 2018, we organized together with dr. Enrico Ronchi (Lund), prof. John Drury, prof. Armin Seyfried (Juelich/Wuppertal) an international workshop at Lorentz Center (Leiden) titled: “Physics and Psychology of Human Crowd Dynamics”.



In this multidisciplinary meeting we aimed at establishing a consensus on sensing, analyzing and understanding human crowd dynamics involving a large number of major experts in the field. Natural scientists, engineers, crowd psychologists and safety experts will be part of an unprecedented week-long dialog on physical and psychological aspects of crowd dynamics.


Pedestrian dynamics; Pedestrian tracking in real-life and in laboratory conditions; Crowd management; safety management of crowds; Pedestrian modelling; Pedestrian sensing via WiFi and non-optical technologies; Machine and Deep learning based data acquisition; Statistical mechanics of crowds; Crowd behavior; Crowd psychology; Crowd evacuation; Crowd simulation methods.


Understanding and being able to manage the behavior of human crowds, from sparse aggregates of individuals to dense groups, is a longstanding challenge of increasing societal urgency. Aside from compelling applications including, e.g., individual safety and infrastructure serviceability, understanding the universal behavior of individuals in crowds from a quantitative statistical point of view is an exciting scientific topic at the crossroad between physics, scientific computing, mathematics, engineering and psychology.

For the recent developments in crowd tracking technologies, the study of crowd dynamics is becoming a quantitative science which can be addressed in mathematical physics terms. Nevertheless, the understanding of crowd motion is an extremely complex problem deeply entangled with psychological variables. Therefore, the interaction between human scientists and physical scientists is fundamental to identify these variables and the way of modeling and/or measuring them. 



The aim of this workshop, unique for multidisciplinary, has been to bring together -for one week- world leading experts in matter of pedestrian dynamics. For its strong multidisciplinary nature, experts in pedestrian dynamics from the physical sciences perspective and from the human science perspective were called to a joint, unprecedented, discussion. 

The invited scholars covered the following topical area of expertise:

  1. crowd sensing, i.e. pedestrian (big-)data acquisition techniques,
  2. crowd analytics i.e. (statistical) data processing and modeling,
  3. crowd understanding i.e. theory connecting physical and psychological variables,
  4. crowd applications, i.e. knowledge transfer to/from technology and safety.

These four topical areas are deeply intertwined, and any progress in each one of these areas immediately impacts the others.

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